Parts of a Research Paper

There are some popular parts of research paper:


The purpose of an abstract is to allow another viewer to quickly access whether or not the contents of the research paper you prepared is relevant to their search or not. Generally, you have 200 to 250 (you will be told how many you can have) words to introduce the topic, clearly state the research question, briefly explain the methods, quickly summarize the results and offer the discussion. Abstracts longer than the allotted word count can result in having an entire research paper rejected.


Many people leave the introduction for the last thing to be written so they don’t forget anything. The first paragraph in an introduction is to explain both why the work you are doing is important and also to provide a little history of work previous to that which you have done. Following that, you will discuss the research problem, state your hypothesis and inform the reader how you intend to solve the research problem.

Sections within this subtitle include a Background, where you can bring your reader up-to-date on past experiments; Importance, where you are explaining that you are building upon past research or searching for an unknown; Limitations, where you clearly state any limitations with your experiment; and Assumptions, the basic principles that are to be understood throughout the experiment.


The science speaks here for itself. Begin in a chronological order and always speak in the past tense. Lay out your methodology neatly so that others reading your research paper can see the methods conform to the principles of the scientific method.

Explain how raw data was compiled. Accurately explain all the equipment used and the techniques that were used to gather data. Describe randomization techniques. What type of calculations and statistics were used? Explain everything such that anyone reading the methods section should be able to replicate your experiment and get the same results you did.


Here you just put down what happened. And be careful not to include so much that the important results get buried in a plethora of information. Save the interpretation for the discussion section. For example, if you notice an unusual correlation between two variables during your experiment, that is worth noting in this section.

Speculating why the difference may have happened will be written in the discussion.

If you place a table of information in your research paper, a graph of the same data is not needed. You should refer to the table in the text, but do not repeat the figures. That is considered duplicate information and writers are normally penalized for doing that. If the data in the table is whole numbers, you could write down what it calculates out to in a percentage.

Also be sure to include negative results. Leaving them out invalidates a research paper and it is bad science. They also make for great discussion material.


No difference and no significance are not the same thing. Here you need to interpret your findings. Even if a graph you had showed a trend but not enough for an acceptable significance level. Another researcher may elect to pick up where you left off and refine the experiment to see if he/she can raise the significance level.

If you need to self-criticize when writing your discussion, do so. Try to access whether it was a design flaw or perhaps the equipment used wasn’t sensitive enough. Suggest any modifications or improvements that need to be made for the next researcher. Be as honest as possible. This is science.

State your findings in context of previous research. Do you agree with what you found in your literature review. If your results were different, is it because you found something new, or was it a design flaw?

Make a statement about your research concurred with previous research or not. Be sure not to overstate it.


Some people will review the abstract and jump to the conclusion. Therefore, offer a quick synopsis of the results and discussions. Point out how this study contributed to the history offered on the topic of this type of research, and what has been learned by this experiment.

Summarize any deficiencies in the methodologies of the experiment.

In the beginning a research question was asked. Answer that question and add a few new ones that surfaced while conducting your research so others can contemplate the answers and maybe pick up the torch you are leaving behind.

Reference List

Use the APA or MLA style of referencing, alphabetically listed by the surname of the author. Be sure you are consistent in the styles throughout. Points are normally deducted for improper reference lists.

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